Southwestern USA Hiking Trails including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Northern Arizona

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The Palatki Heritage Site Sedona, AZ


Directions: From Downtown Sedona, take SR89A through West Sedona. Go 5 miles past the last traffic light to Forest Road 525 turn right. Continue north for 5 miles bearing left onto Forest Road 795 for two miles until you come to the Palatki parking lot.


You will need to call and make reservations before visiting the Palatki Ruins. Call (928) 282-3854 between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to make a reservation.


About the Palaki Ruins: Between 1150 - 1350 AD, Palatki and her sister site Honanki were the largest cliff dwellings. The sites are currently managed by the U. S. Forest Service under the Red Rock Pass Program. Palatki' s historic site was named by Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes, a Smithsonian Institute archaeologist. The Palatki has a Hopi name meaning Red House. The Hopi Native Americans have no specific words for either of these sites.


I choose to view the Palaki Ruins on a Red Jeep Tour while vacationing in Sedona. The Jeep Tour guide was very knowledgeable, talking about the structures and pointing out all the different petroglyphs. I recommend taking this tour, but you could easily make a reservation and go yourself. There were precarious places on the dirt road, so make sure you drive a high clearance vehicle.


There are spectacular views along the way to the Palatki Heritage site.

The Sedona scenery is constantly changing depending on the weather. My favorite time is when it is a bit cloudy and close to sundown. The filtering light through the clouds create a rainbow of color across the rock formations.



Across from the parking lot is a small visitor center and bookstore, run by the Arizona Natural History Association. The trail starts from the visitor center.

There are three trails at the Palatki Heritage Site.

  • Trail 1: This takes you up to the Sinagua cliff dwellings

  • Trail 2: Provides a view of the Sinagua cliff dwellings

  • Trail 3: Goes to an alcove that shelters the petroglyphs

Each route is 1/4 mile, resulting in a round trip journey of 1.5 miles.

Trail 1 provides a close up view of the Sinagua cliff dwellings.

It was interesting to see how they made small windows in the structure.




Two large petroglyphs are on display, high above the structure. I wonder how they could get up so high to draw those, and was the symbol of the man someone important to the tribe?










Trail 3 into the alcove had many petroglyphs and they were all so easy to see and find.


I planned to revisit the site again on my own. I want to spend more time examining and enjoying the petroglyphs. I'll be sure and make my reservation.


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